The brother of a former Tangipahoa Parish councilman will pay a $1,000 fine for flipping a piece of property his councilman-brother helped secure tax credits to develop.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics on Friday approved the fine for Salvador Petitto.
His brother, Michael Petitto, in 2006 sponsored a council resolution supporting a housing project near Amite just one day after Salvador Petitto signed an exclusive option to buy the 18 acres where it would be built.
The developer submitted the resolution with an application for low-income housing tax credits through the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency.
After the LHFA approved the credits, Salvador Petitto bought the land and “flipped it” the same day to the developer for a $197,000 profit.
Two weeks later, Salvador Petitto paid a $49,000 balance on Michael Petitto’s mortgage, which Salvador later characterized as a loan to his younger brother, who needed help.
Louisiana’s Code of Governmental Ethics prohibits any public official or family member from being involved in any transaction under the official’s supervision or jurisdiction.
Michael Petitto was convicted in 2012 on two counts of malfeasance in office related to the deal. He received two consecutive, five-year prison sentences, suspended, was placed on five years’ probation and fined $10,000.
Michael Petitto appealed the conviction, but the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed and the state Supreme Court denied writ. He resigned from the Tangipahoa Parish Council in June 2012.
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